Lately I’ve been feeling a little less than enthused about my professional life. That’s putting it mildly. To alleviate that, I’m trying to become more involved – going to my first ALA conference, co-chairing an interest group, working on this blog.
This blog post is a continuation of that effort. So here goes. . . a list of my favorite librarian-ish things.
1. Bibliographies. Yes, I know. I’m a weirdo. But to me, there is little in the world more thrilling than a bibliography. They positively brim with potential. No matter the subject, no matter the format. Back of a book, end of an article, a book in and of itself – I love them all. Admittedly, I get more excited when the bibliography is on a topic in which I am interested. But that doesn’t keep my heart from racing just a bit when I see a bibliography in the back of a dry tome on chemical engineering (or some other subject I have absolutely no interest in – no offense to the chemical engineers out there!).
2. That occasional surprising student. Last week I taught another in a long line of one-shot information literacy workshops. In every class there is some joker – the one who questions everything you say or constantly interrupts with wisecracks. When the students were moseying in, I thought I had that student spotted: green hair, sloppy clothes, and a glint in his eye that said “trouble.” Imagine my surprise when that same green head popped into my office right after class to say thank you. “I love reading,” he went on, “I just discovered it last year.” He wanted help finding a novel to read. We had to order it from the other campus and when he came in to pick it up, he presented me with a small wildflower he’d picked outside.
3. Organization and finding of information. This is perhaps a bit broad, but I love classification systems (both Dewey and LC), controlled vocabularies, database limiters, etc. Understanding all these schemes and tools, and being able to use them effectively, makes me happy. And even better than that – explaining it all to a student and seeing the “a-ha moment” in their eyes!
4. The smell, feel, and je ne sais quoi of books. When I was growing up my uncle owned a used bookstore. The smell of old books is just a part of me. But it’s more than the smell, and it’s not just the old books that I love. Even new books have a smell, a certain feeling in the hand and under the fingertips. They contain so much knowledge, so much history, so much beauty. They are a connection to the past and to the future. How can anyone not be excited by that? Mind you, I love my ebook reader too, but it is a different animal altogether.
5. Other librarians. There is a real sense of community among librarians. You see it on the internet, at conferences, and in chance encounters. Perhaps it is because we are helpful by nature that we are so willing to help each other. Whatever the reason, librarians are there for each other, and that’s a good thing.